Once Upon a Nightmare


There are a lot of things I don’t understand. I don’t understand the appeal of caviar. I don’t understand why we drive on parkways and park on driveways. I don’t understand why every brand of clothing sizes things differently. I just don’t, and I never will.

But one thing that puzzles me more with each passing year is why girls are attracted to bad men.

I will use fandoms as a microcosm of this female phenomena. The musical The Phantom of the Opera is a favorite among women, probably because its exaggerated portrayal of romance matches most women’s delusional fantasies of the way they think love works. The hero of the story is Good Guy Raoul, a viscount who is in love with his childhood friend and singer Christine Daae. The only person that stands between them is a guy who lives in the basement of the opera house and writes music for fun, killing the odd stagehand as a side job. He is grossly deformed, which inspires pity in the hearts of the audience. Pity enough, it seems, for them to forget that he’s a murderous, controlling, abusive charlatan who is more obsessed with owning Christine than he is interested in her inner being, her soul. For some inexplicable reason, some women are upset that Christine chooses Good Guy Raoul over the twisted evil guy. In their eyes, it would be better for Christine to live out her days in a dank basement with a creepy stalker than to travel the world with the man of her dreams who loves her enough to be willing to die for her.


Then there’s Loki. You know, antlered Mr. Meany from The Avengers. He’s got a whole flock of women who are obsessed with him. Something to do with the expression in his eyes, apparently. These spellbound women overlook the fact that this person was perfectly comfortable with killing innocent people to show his older brother that he’s just as cool as he is, no matter what Daddy says. Sure, girls say they feel sorry for him because his father never loved him, and if only he had, maybe Loki would’ve turned out okay. Look, girls, if you want the same kind of sob story, the same thing happened to Faramir, and he knew how to be a gentleman about it.

What makes evil so attractive? In the real world, girls fall for bad boys all the time. They pass up the solid, mentally stable and very sweet men for the rebels who turn into controllers, abusers, or philanderers. What normally happens is that a girl will fall for a boy solely for his good looks, and find out too late that the pretty apple has a rotten core. I have a hard enough time understanding the appeal of romance as it is. Why do women go out of their way to fall in love with difficult men?

Normally I can supply theories by way of an answer. Tonight I cannot. This is an open question brought about by scrolling around in the “Geek” category on Pinterest. All I can say is, Girls, be careful. These visions are seldom what they seem.


12 responses »

  1. I would make a distinction between fandom/fangirls and real world. I’m a minor Loki/Tom Hiddleston fan and friends with a major Loki/TH fan. We both agree that ON SCREEN we prefer Loki or Iron Man/Tony Stark over Captain America; they have more interesting stories. But in real life, we’d be fighting over Captain America.

    I think the story appeal with Loki is that you don’t know what he’s going to do next. You know Captain America will always do the right thing and always follow the letter of the law.

    • yeah, the unpredictable ones can stay onscreen as far as I’m concerned. But some girls have trouble making that switch back into reality and find the Loki-archetypes in the world and think the tried-and-true Captain America types are boring. 😦

  2. I never have, nor never will, understand the fascination with the bad guys. Give me a man of character any day of the week! I don’t even like the bad boys on screen. Loki? Give me a break–he’s downright slimy!

  3. Love this, Miss Rambler. (And thank you for alluding to Faramir.) Many stories, such as the musical Phantom of the Opera, make the “bad boys” seem unpredictable–which they are (you never know when the Phantom is going to be gentle or screaming)–but they present their unpredictability as attactive traits because it’s supposedly more exciting than life with predictable Raoul. My personal opinion–in the Phantom’s case, most of it is pity.

  4. It isn’t for just one reason. But it often has to do with the mothering instinct. You all think you can fix bad men and make them good. Well… except for girls who are just getting back at their parents or who are damaged by things that happened to them.

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